Everyone Down Here by Earlimart
You know you're forward-thinking when, smack dab in the age of P2P networks, your album comes pre-packaged with MP3s. Indeed, the enhanced CD portion of Earlimart's 2003 full-length Everyone Down Here features a 192kbps copy of the entire album, ready to share with your Limewire buddies. Whether or not that was the intention is up for debate, but Everyone Down Here is definitely something worth sharing. Earlimart has always been Ground Zero for the Silver Lake music scene, thanks to the band's home base of The Ship, but this one makes a compelling case for why their music is just as important.
On paper, there's not much original about Earlimart's sound. Semi-acoustics, pianos, breathy vocals, spare balladry ("Dreaming Of..."), and vocoder tantrums ("Lost at Sea") are all present, but it's the tight songwriting and use of textures that give Earlimart the edge. While pseudo-singles "We Drink on the Job" and "Burning the Cow" tone down the latter for the former, the more subtle tracks really show off the album's strange sonics. If "We're So Happy" is Central Valley drone, "Big Ol' Black" is a schizophrenic at Alcatraz with bugs under his skin, and not once does the eerie "Hospital" let on if it's medical or mental in nature. Everything has a handmade quality to it, but it's warped enough that the earnestness seems to come through a cracked, twitchy smile. Certainly one would have to be a little cracked to give away MP3s of your album in 2003, but turns out, it's just crazy enough to work.